BusinessDay

NPA operates approved USD accounts -Management

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has dismissed reports that it operates two secret foreign accounts, saying it only operates two USD-denominated domiciliary accounts that were approved by the Federal Government.

According to the firm’s management, NPA runs a transparent operations and gives premium to due process in the execution of its core mandates.

In a statement by its General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, Nasiru Ibrahim, the compelling need to set the records straight and disabuse the minds of the public informed its response to the claim.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has been drawn to a media report, suggesting that the Authority operates two secret accounts outside Nigeria, which have been allegedly looted.

“Contrary to their claims in the apparently sponsored report, which are both false and malicious, the NPA operates two USD-denominated domiciliary accounts that were approved by the Federal Government and transparently run, in accordance with agreed official safeguards emplaced by the Office of the Accountant General through the CBN and the TSA policy of the Federal government of Nigeria against possible infractions and looting.

“While the NPA management’s initial disposition was to dismiss the news report with a wave of the hand, the compelling need to set the records straight and disabuse the minds of well-meaning and unsuspecting members of the various publics on the subject matter assumed prime consideration.

“Therefore, the Management hereby states as follows:

“That a request for approval to open two accounts for the collection of service boats pilotage revenue was made to the Accountant General of the Federation in a letter dated August 26, 2016.

“That the OAGF approved the opening of the accounts which were to be opened in Zenith Bank and Fidelity Bank with their correspondent foreign banks as Citibank N.A in London and New York respectively for the purposes of collecting service boats pilotage revenue accruing to the NPA.

“That as of the time the request for approval was made, the class of revenue was being collected by Integrated Logistics Services Limited (INTELS) on behalf of the NPA from the inception of the managing agent relationship which dates back to 1996.

“That there was a management agency relationship between INTELS and the NPA which gave INTELS the responsibility to monitor service boat operations and collect revenue from such operations on behalf of the NPA at an agreed commission.

“That both NPA & INTELS rely on the provision in the executed agreement to have access to view the inflow into the accounts for ease of reconciliation and to enable it determine online real-time amounts paid by clients and the value of the invoice to send to the NPA for payment of their management services;

“That on a monthly basis, there were hundreds of payments for service boats operations that make payments directly into INTELS bank account.

“That on periodic basis, INTELS remitted a portion of the revenue collected to the NPA and retained significant portion in its vault, comprising commission on collection of revenue and cost of Onne phase 4B expansion project through amortization.

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“That the Management of the NPA considered this practice as being completely at variance with the requirements of Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of Government, which made it mandatory that all revenues accruing to all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) must be remitted into one consolidated TSA account in the Central bank of Nigeria.

“That Management conducted a thorough review of the executed management agency agreement it entered into with INTELS and felt the urgent need to open revenue accounts dedicated to the collection of revenue from service boats operations based on certain parameters.

“The parameters included, among others: to ensure that Government revenues no longer reside in the vaults of private operators or companies; to ensure seamless reconciliation of revenue collection from service boat operations as there were hundreds of entries per month; to enthrone accountability and transparency in the management of revenue generation and collection from service boats operations; to enhance prompt reconciliation of service boats revenue generation and collection, which will facilitate prompt payment of agency commission by the Authority to INTELS in a transparent manner; and the prompt remittance of the net revenue after deduction of agency commission into the Authority’s TSA sub-account in the CBN.

“The Management also wishes to state that all the supposed assertions and innuendos in the news report as regards secrecy and diversion of funds in the accounts are nothing but spurious and laughable concoctions and disingenuous misinformation about happenings in the NPA in the fertile imaginations of the author of the unconscionable report.

For the avoidance of doubt, the “Management states categorically that there was no how the funds in the accounts could have been secretly diverted or privatized as significant safeguards had been put in place by the Federal Government.

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